DualShockers’ Favorite Games of 2019 — Ricky's Top 10
Fortunately for you, the great editors at DualShockers have saved the best of these GOTY lists for last. Here are my top 10 games of 2019.
As 2019 comes to a close, DualShockers and our staff are reflecting on this year’s batch of games and what were their personal highlights within the last year. Unlike the official Game of the Year 2019 awards for DualShockers, there are little-to-no-rules on our individual Top 10 posts. For instance, any game — not just 2019 releases — can be considered.
2019 was a surprisingly good year in video games, at least for me. Sure, we didn’t get many absolute bangers that held the collective video game public hostage for weeks at a time. However, there were several good games that had a major impact on what should be a “tune-up” year as we near the release of next-gen consoles.
That said, while we’ve enjoyed a cornucopia of good games, they all had a flaw or five that held them back from being truly spectacular. So, in a sea of good, not great releases, I’ve chosen to highlight the games that I had the most fun with in 2019. After all, isn’t that we play games in the first place?
Here are my top 10 games of 2019.
Honorable Mention: FIFA 20 Web App
Let’s be clear, FIFA 20 was an overwhelmingly mediocre game on launch and EA has only made it worse with their various “fixes.” Ultimate Team, in particular, is in shambles for much of the community. However, I have spent more time playing FIFA than any other game in 2019. So, while I refuse to put it on my list, I still feel like I have to recognize it in some way.
Enter the FIFA 20 web app. I’m on this all the time playing FIFA‘s transfer market and usually having a great time doing so. If you like the idea of playing the stock market without actually investing money, this is the best way I’ve found to do it. Buying and selling players on the market and seeing that coin total slowly rise has been a fun challenge in 2019.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for FIFA 20.
10. Heroes of the Storm
I know, I know; Heroes is a dead game that no one plays. The way Blizzard just killed off the pro scene in 2018 continues to be massively disappointing, and those of us who still play are baby gamers who can’t handle a real MOBA. I get all that and mostly agree with you.
That said, Heroes, for me, is like a fresh plate of my grandma’s meatloaf: something I can always go back to and love regardless of where I’m at in life. My time in HOTS has certainly died down over the last year or so, but it’s the game I always go back to when I just need 20 minutes to unwind. Plus, Deathwing came out this year. That was pretty great.
Listen, I’m a simple man. If you make a game that lets me make friends with and then explode poop, I’m probably going to like your game. So, while Wattam is in many ways barely a game, there aren’t many other games I enjoyed start to finish as Keita Takahashi’s latest.
This tale about friendship and coming together to conquer evil is one of the most joyous games out in 2019. Perfect for kids and adults alike, I thoroughly recommend this experience to anyone that has an afternoon to kill over the holiday. It won’t change your life and it doesn’t innovate, but stacking up poop and kabooming it to smithereens is so much fun.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Wattam.
8. Death Stranding
As of this writing, I’ve yet to finish Death Stranding. In fact, I just hit Chapter 3, which is where I hear a lot of people begin to have problems with Kojima’s latest. So, I reserve the right to move just toss this game off the list in the next few days.
That said, since starting the game a few days ago, I haven’t been able to think about anything else besides playing Death Stranding. I love the slow, methodical plodding Sam Bridges does as you move cargo from place to place. I love trying to map out the best possible route to stay away from trouble. I even love all the weird lore that keeps getting dumped on me.
Maybe it’s the fact that I come from a family of porters (read: truck drivers), but Death Stranding is the most fun I’ve ever had doing something that, in real life, seems like it would be pretty boring. I hope it stays that way.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Death Stranding.
7. Outer Wilds
Outer Wilds is among the most inventive games in 2019. I love how the game just gives you a world and says, “explore.” There aren’t any roadblocks to you beating it in 20 minutes and everyone is going to get to the ending in a different way. Add in a Majora’s Mask-like constantly-moving map and you have a game that’s nothing like anything else.
Outer Wilds also does something many games can’t and sticks the landing with a stellar (interstellar?) ending. I know you’ve heard this from every corner of the internet, but you really should give Mobius Digital’s freshman effort a try.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Outer Wilds.
6. What The Golf?
I adore golf games. My middle school summers were filled with countless hours of Mario Golf for the Game Boy Color and Nintendo 64. The reason I bought a Switch was to play Golf Story. For whatever reason, I can’t get enough golf in my video gaming life. I can’t stand playing golf in the real world, but virtually, there’s not much better.
That said, What The Golf? is not a golf game. Oh sure, you’ll hit objects toward a flag, but that’s where the similarities end. However, this game does just about everything else besides golf. And still, it’s by far my favorite mobile release of the year. The sheer amount of creativity in how to approach a non-golfing golf game is staggering. I don’t want to say much about what actually happens, as that would ruin the surprise. Just know that What The Golf? is great, regardless of how you feel about golf.
Control is my annual “wow, this looks so good on my RTX card” game. Visually, there wasn’t a more impressive game to me all year. Much of this comes down to Remedy’s striking art direction. They do so much with color and lighting to make a game that is a visual feast. It sucks to hear that the console versions are less than stellar, because I want everyone to have the same experience I did.
Outside of the impressive visuals is a story that I had to see to completion. I don’t know if it breaks any new ground, but the narrative threads were so fun to pull at that I ended up doing everything. Combat is mostly fine outside of a few truly bad boss fights. If you’re looking for an entry-point to the Remedy-verse, Control seems like a great jumping-on point, especially if you have a relatively beefy PC.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Control.
4. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Bloodstained is a fantastic reimagining of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The Metroidvania combat and exploration is tight and incredibly fun. If that was all the game did, it would probably still make my list. However, what makes this game really stand out for me is how willing it is to not take itself too seriously.
Bloodstained is good with it if you become laughably overpowered. In fact, it seems to want you to. The way you can just break the game is so amusing. Many games are too precious about their power curve. Bloodstained doesn’t care. It just wants you to have a good time and rest assured, that’s exactly what I did.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.
3. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
I had a paragraph written up about how FromSoft has truly evolved their gameplay with Sekiro to force you to actually learn how to play well and not cheese bosses, but honestly, there’s only one thing you need to know. This game is worth playing (or at least watching) to see the Monkey Fight.
For a developer known for creating controller-breaking and genre-defining boss fights, the Monkey Fight stands head and shoulders above them all. If the overbearing difficulty isn’t for you, that’s fine. Just look it up on YouTube, sit back, and enjoy FromSoft at its best.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
2. Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 2, as a remake, has no business being as good as it is. Mr. X is my favorite thing in gaming this year. His horrifying, omnipresent role in the game’s first half makes RE2 a must-play. The way he stalks you throughout the police station, appearing when you least expect it, made for countless moments of both pure terror and hilarity. Plus, the memes that sprung up around the character were exceptional.
When people ask if they should play the game, I just show them the “Mr. X Gon Give it to You” videos and they’re sold instantly. And sure, once you leave the police station, the game kind of slogs to the finish, but that shouldn’t keep you from experiencing the panic-inducing joy that is the early parts of Resident Evil 2.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Resident Evil 2.
Where do I even start? Do we talk about the oddly captivating murder mystery full of more twists than a bad M. Night Shyamalan movie? Seriously, this story just goes places and is constantly defying what you think a Ryu Ga Gotoku game can be. The studio has really hit its story-telling stride with Judgment. Do we talk about how Yagami might be a better character than Kiryu? Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always love the Dragon of Dojima, but Yagami has more much range than the ever-stoic favorite foster son of Shintaro Kazama. How about the ease with which Judgment switches between serious, soap opera-style narrative and the wacky side quests we’ve come to love from Yakuza games? This has always been one of the series’ strengths; however, with the main character being a private detective, it makes a lot more sense for them to be randomly searching for a man’s cats or beating up a disgusting pervert.
Really, Judgment is my game of the year because I can’t think of another game that I had more fun playing. The beat ’em up gameplay is the same as it’s always been, but RGG has made it instantly a blast. If I want to show someone why I love Judgment, I’ll just jump into a random battle and I’m immediately piledriving all those young thugs into the ground. Judgment has, quite possibly, the best set of “heat” finishers in the Yakuza franchise. And truthfully, that’s the kicker with Judgment. It doesn’t do anything remarkably new with the Yakuza format. What it does is distill everything in the game down to its most fun form and slaps it all over the world of Kamurocho.
As I get older and there are more demands on my time, “fun factor” has become more important than ever. Judgment has that in spades. I’ve already put 100 plus hours into the game and just thinking about the game’s big moments over the past week while writing this has me seriously considering jumping back in. That Platinum’s not gonna earn itself. Thank you for reading my mini-review for Yagami’s greatest journey. If you haven’t checked out a Yakuza game yet, this is a perfect jumping-on point.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Judgment.
Check out the rest of the DualShockers staff Top 10 lists and our official Game of the Year Awards:
December 23: DualShockers Game of the Year Awards 2019
December 25: Lou Contaldi, Editor-in-Chief // Logan Moore, Managing Editor
December 26: Tomas Franzese, News Editor // Ryan Meitzler, Features Editor
December 27: Mike Long, Community Manager // Scott White, Staff Writer
December 28: Chris Compendio, Contributor // Mario Rivera, Video Manager // Kris Cornelisse, Staff Writer
December 29: Scott Meaney, Community Director // Allisa James, Senior Staff Writer // Ben Bayliss, Senior Staff Writer
December 30: Cameron Hawkins, Staff Writer // David Gill, Senior Staff Writer // Portia Lightfoot, Contributor
December 31: Iyane Agossah, Senior Staff Writer // Michael Ruiz, Senior Staff Writer // Rachael Fiddis, Contributor
January 1: Ricky Frech, Senior Staff Writer // Tanner Pierce, Staff Writer // Laddie Simco, Staff Writer